This week I received a sort of “come on back” email from Ovi. Well done, I thought, with an attempt at personalisation, and a call to action to revisit the site, or click on a link to take a survey and provide some feedback. I think companies should do this more, i.e. think about lapsed users and worry about how to retain or re-engage them.
Nokia find themselves in a difficult position, though, since (a) the Ovi brand is going away and (b) the Symbian platform (which so much of Ovi is geared for) has been cut-loose with Nokia’s radical platformectomy.
On the former: Nokia have decided to rebrand back to “Nokia”, which seems daft since they must have spent a huge sum establishing “Ovi” as a sub-brand to begin with. Apple have apparently taken no wrong step in the evolution of iPhone/AppStore/iTunes/iOS/iPad, and this has made life very tough for competitors like Nokia and BlackBerry, who ruled the roost before the Maloideaen enemy arrived. However, Ovi had gone from a shaky start to a worthwhile appstore and service platform (especially Ovi Maps, which is a killer app). Conspiracy theorists (of whom there are many) imagined the death of the Ovi brand to be related to the agreement with Microsoft over Windows Phone 7. I don’t know, but for sure Nokia are taking a lot of high-risk decisions recently.
[Incidentally, I only stopped visiting Ovi because my Nokia E71 ceased to be my day-to-day phone. It’s a great site, I think].
On the latter: Nokia’s decision to embrace Windows Phone 7 does for Symbian what the movie “127 Hours” did for solo mountaineering. I’ll be interested to see what the combination of Windows Phone 7 and Nokia hardware does, but I do think that to publicly behead Symbian in the way they have done seem to have done damage to confidence in Nokia almost as much as the (fatal) damage to Symbian.
While I was thinking about the momentous changes for Nokia, the news also broke about HP discontinuing WebOS. The Palm Pre seemed like a nice device with its nifty contactless charging stone (extra $) and its nice GUI-over-Linux, but it pretty soon became part of the background noise, and utimately an investment for HP. HP have now decided to dump WebOS, only weeks after releasing their first tablet based on the operating system. It does beg the question of whether there really is a tablet marketplace, or is there just an iPad marketplace? Sparse whispers about HP (TouchPad), BlackBerry (PlayBook) and Dell (Streak) are nothing against the cacophony of outpourings about the iPad. The iPad can command the market with its £400 price tag, where other tablets are finding the absolute limits of price elasticity in trying to sell at the same level.
Thinking back to the OS wars that happened on PCs, the transition from MS-DOS/PC-DOS, brought Windows into competition with IBM’s OS/2, and also a plethora of network operating systems (LAN Manager, NetWare, Banyan etc) competed with each other. There was a big shakeout, and pretty much Microsoft walked away with everything.
Big changes are happening in the phone and tablet OS business and there will be more blood on the carpet before too long. The shakeout for standardisation of mobiles and tablets is starting here.